Like many content marketers, you probably spend many hours figuring out what to write about, researching the subject, and painstakingly typing out the words to get your message across. But don’t publish your next blog post just yet. You need to optimize it for search engines, too, or you run the risk of nobody ever finding out that it even exists.
And while SEO is best left in the hands of experts in search engine optimization services, it’s also important for you to know some basic blogging SEO if you’re a writer. Where do you start? Here’s a 5-point SEO checklist for blog posts.
1. Do you have the title of the blog optimized to what people are looking for?
Nobody will read a blog about a topic nobody is interested in. This is why topic research is key to blogging success.
- Find out what information people are looking for in your niche, and then make sure that your title directly answers their questions.
- Aside from being clear, your title should also have a hook—something that makes people want to read more.
Don’t forget to put relevant keywords at the start of your title. They should appear in the first half. Keep in mind that Google and other search engines put more weight on words that occur early on in the title.
Examples of a good blog title:
Top E-commerce Tips for New Entrepreneurs
5 Ways To Define The Target Market For Your Brand
Why Should You Seek Professional Mobile Application Development Services
2. Do you have at least 2,000 words?
According to data from HubSpot, the ideal length for optimized blogs is between 2,100 to 2,400 words. That seems like a lot—and it is.
But don’t worry. Not all topics warrant a super long post. In fact, some topics do well when expressed with brevity. And even shorter blogs can still rank well on search engines if they have other interesting elements within them, such as social media embeds, videos, infographics, and other media-rich content. (See number 4.)
3. Have you improved readability with adequate paragraph breaks and highlights?
Headers do wonders in breaking up sections of text into more readable parts. They also help readers transition to the next idea. So go ahead and use them in your blogs, along with bullet points and number lists that highlight your main messages.
But don’t stop there. There are plenty of other ways to make your blogs more readable. Here are some of them:
- If you want to connect with a general audience, keep your writing accessible. Write for the seventh-grade reading level. Use short sentences and common words. Use the FOG Index to check the readability of your writing.
- Use simple sentence structures. Try not to add too many commas, semicolons, and em dashes. Streamlined sentences are easier to follow.
- Keep them short. With a simpler structure, you also want to keep your sentences succinct. Proofread your work to check if there are long sentences that you can break into two.
- Do the same for paragraphs. One- to two-sentence paragraphs work great for blog posts because they make an otherwise long tech seem less daunting. They also help move readers along.
- This is one of the most important tips in this blog post checklist. Remember that you are not writing a thesis—you are writing a blog that you want to appeal to many readers. Keep your language casual but respectful. This tone makes you seem friendlier and helps foster a sense of camaraderie with your readers.
4. Have you included graphics or videos to keep the user’s attention?
Keep your readers engaged by using relevant and original graphics and videos that are either informative, entertaining, or both, depending on your goals. These elements make your blog post more interesting and they can also help your rank on Google’s image search results.
You will probably see this step on every SEO checklist for blog posts simply because it works. A variety of visual stimuli is always better for boosting reader engagement. You can use a wide range of media such as GIFs, videos, infographics, screenshots, or custom graphics. Attaching audio files or relevant podcasts is also a great idea to engage your readers. After all, humans are visual beings who process images as much as 60,000 times faster than text. This is why blog posts with pictures, infographics, and videos tend to get more page views and shares.
5. Have you added a call to action?
Before you hit that ‘Publish’ button on your next blog post, think about how you want your readers to take the next step to learn more about your organization. A ‘Call To Action’ (CTA) prompts the user to do what you want them to do—whether that’s to leave their contact information, call your office, sign up for your newsletter, or buy your products. Without a clear CTA, your blog post might not achieve its goal. You can enhance conversions by including more CTAs in several formats, addressing different parts of your marketing funnel.
Types of Calls-to-Action
The following are some of the different CTAs that you can add to your blog post to achieve different results:
- A Smart call-to-action: With Smart CTAs, you can personalize your CTA based on who is reading your blog content and where your readers are in the buyer’s cycle.
- A Social call-to-action: This CTA should be used if your goal is to build your social media follower base. Readers can simply click on Social CTAs to follow you on your social channel.
- A Subscribe call-to-action: A Subscribe CTA is a good option if you want to increase your blog’s reader base. This will alert your readers via email when you have published new content on your blog.
- A Comment call-to-action: A Comment CTA will do the job if you are trying to boost your audience engagement. There is no link to follow; instead, you encourage your audience to leave their thoughts on the blog you have posted.
Do you need help writing or optimizing blog posts that convert? Talk to us at Pulse Solutions. We offer a wide range of content development and search engine optimization services.